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March 17, 2008


Greg Harman

Thanks for these comments. It constantly amazes me how quickly Big Untested Solutions are embraced over simpler behavioral changes.
What weather modifications we have made already through industrialization are here for at least the next several hundred years. Even if we killed petro-power for illuminated butterfly solutions today (nothing but renewables and calorie-free candies), the climate lag time is significant. It takes decades to build up carbon and decades more to expel it.
Yes, we are finding our soils and seas are reaching their limits on carbon absorption (leading to theories of "rapid climate change" that i, for one, can't dismiss with a shrug), but why is it easier to let a handful of scientists dump tens of thousands of pounds of iron shavings into the Ocean than to kickstart an international treeplanting crusade? Trees are a fairly safe bet. We know what they do and we know the planet is short on forest by over half.
Iron filings? Orbiting solar shades? Robot pollinators? We'll see, maybe.


The idea about iron filings seems ludicrous to me for the same reasons that Greg Harmon mentioned. It also sounds like a really fun research project for scientists and engineers. How much iron would you have to add to the ocean to get the results you wanted? Where, exactly, would you put it all? How would that much iron affect the ocean chemistry? What impact would those changes have on marine life? The rest of the planet? A good set of researchers could work on this problem all the way to their retirement...

But scientists and engineers can't make that research money become available for the taking and they can't authorize the actual dumping of any iron filings. Follow the big money to find the driving force behind any of these ad hoc ideas. It's an old story by now, isn't it?

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